character Archive

Deck the Halls–Merrily but Warily

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In literature, scenes of decoration are charged with dramatic potential. In leaving their marks on spaces in this exaggerated way, characters show themselves to us.

Character Through the Portraits of Alice Neel

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
Almost everything I know about character development, I learned by studying the portraits of Alice Neel, who painted portraits in the mid-20th century at a time when the art world considered portrait painting nearly irrelevant.

Body Language: What Writers Can Learn from Artists

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice No comments
Body language is the nonverbal expression of emotion and thought—a form of communicating arguably more effective than the system made up of words. Words are adequate for the less complex task of conveying information, but body language and tone do the heavy lifting. By some estimates only 7 percent

Experiments in Perspective

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
A crucial lesson I learned early on in my attempts at writing fiction is that every character is you–and not you. Characters have parts of you inside of them because you wrote them. But they are still not you. Chris Abani once said in a workshop that readers will

The Ploughshares Round-Down: The Calvary Film and the Purpose of Art

Author: | Categories: Uncategorized No comments
“[T]he barrier between one’s self and one’s knowledge of oneself is high indeed. There are so many things we would rather not know! — James Baldwin John Michael McDonagh’s film Calvary begins with priest Father James (played by Brendan Gleeson) preparing to hear an unseen confessor. The confessor reveals that as

For Those About To Write (We Salute You) #11: Guided By Voices

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice No comments
For Those About To Write (We Salute You) will present a writing exercise to the Ploughshares community every few weeks. We heartily encourage everyone reading to take part!  Are we all a bit hot and bothered from last session’s laptop romp? I’m new to the erotic writing game, and, well…